Wasabi is also known as Japanese Horseradish. Its use originated in Japan where it grows wild and in other parts of Asia. Wasabi is presently cultivated in these regions as well as in the west coast of the United States.
This plant is a member of the Brassicaceae family which also includes mustard, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Radishes including horseradish also belong to this family.
Although the leaves contain wasabi’s heat and flavor, rhizomes are used to produce the famous powder.
Ground wasabi holds a heat similar to a strong mustard or horseradish. The fumes aggravate your nose but quickly disappear.
Wasabi is not oil based so the heat doesn’t linger. The heat from wasabi is from a different chemical reaction than chilies.
Use this to add heat to cold dishes. It is best known as a condiment for sushi. Store it in the refrigerator.
Most preparations you buy are not 100 percent wasabi. This plant is difficult to cultivate making it very expensive.
Ground wasabi rhizome is used to create popular snack foods. The powder is used to coat roasted peanuts and peas for an extra kick.
Check out Wasabi Recipes on Daily Dish Magazine’s Cook n’ Guide